"Black Parade (1935) is strong because... it includes the many-sided turbulence, the incoherence and contradictions, which the more available stereotypes of the history exclude. It can be properly contrasted with... Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley (1939)... widely and properly seen as the export version of the Welsh industrial experience."
One of Merthyr’s Victorian brickyard girls, Saran watches the world parade past her doorstep on the banks of the stinking and rat-infested Morlais Brook: the fair-day revellers; the chapel-goers and the funeral processions. She never misses a trip to the town’s wooden theatres, despite her life ruled by the 5 a.m. hooter, pit strikes, politics and the First World War that takes away so many of her children.
Her Glyn will work a treble shift for beer money; her brother Harry is the district’s most notorious drinker and fighter until he is ‘saved’. The town changes and grows but Saran is still there for Glyn, for Harry, for her children and grandchildren.
In his 1935 novel Black Parade, writer, soldier and political activist Jack Jones creates a superbly riotous, clear and unsentimental picture of Merthyr life as his home-town reels headlong into the twentieth century.
About the author:
Jack Jones was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1884. A writer of numerous novels, plays and autobiographical volumes, he received several awards for his distinguished contribution to the literature of Wales. He was elected first president of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig. Jack Jones died in 1970.
Merthyr Tydfil for Jack Jones was a stern and forbidding father, a nurturing mother, lover, friend and mortal enemy. His native town, built on its four great ironworks, forged his talent and purged his verbose and cumbersome prose of its impurities. The pressures of reliving his life there ¬– not to mention the heroic efforts of his copy editors – tempered a style of steel-hard simplicity fit for the elemental story of his people pitted against the black cruelty of nature and the red-clawed savagery of Man.
the entire extract of Black Parade HERE...
Due to be published on 1 October 2009.